“There are four riders within 4 thousandths of one another. I don’t think I have ever seen something like that before: it’s incredible”, Valentino sums up the balance that reigns in MotoGP in one sentence. From Marquez (6th) to the Doctor (9th) the gap is measured in the smallest unit of time and we could go on saying that Lorenzo and Rossi are separated by just two hundredths.
“I didn’t do a perfect lap with the new tyres - just a few small mistakes and I’m in 9th place - Valentino continues – So, my position in the standings is not fantastic, but it is also true that we are all very close and my pace is rather fast. I feel good with the bike.”
What worries you right now?
“First of all, tomorrow morning it will be important to stay in the top 10 in order not to go through Q1. Then we’ll need to choose the front tyre carefully. The soft and medium are in play and I don’t know what to expect in the last 5 laps of the race. We still need to work on the balance of the bike in order to limit consumption.”
What were your sensations with used tyres?
“I maintained a good pace, around the 1’55” mark and I think that if I am able to maintain that pace in the race too, I’ll be able to battle for the top positions.”
Are the Ducatis the ones that merit special surveillance?
“At the moment, they seem to be a bit faster, but we are only on the first day and I can still improve. Starting on the first two rows will be important and on paper, since the temperatures are higher, it will be hard but I am sure that someone will manage. I feel good with the cool and the race will be in those conditions.”
Were you surprised to see such tightly packed standings?
“Not too much because it already happened in the winter tests. It didn’t even surprise me to see the Suzukis out front. They are fast coming out of corners and they will also be in the mix.”
What is the reason for this balance?
“I think the tyres above all. With the Michelins we are always very close and this makes working on details and staying focused on the flying lap even more important, without making any mistakes. The championship organiser worked to achieve this balance also with the introduction of the sole supplier electronics and that is important for the show. We are all very close, especially on the flying lap, but there are no big differences in the pace either.”
Has Michelin solved the problem with some of the tyres being defective?
“Sometimes it happens that you find a tyre that does better and another one that does worse, but today I didn’t have any problems.”
You’re happy, unlike Maverick…
“Sometimes I don’t understand anything that happens to me, say nothing about to him (laughing). To be honest, I still haven’t analysed the situation well. It also depends on the tyre we used. Right now I don’t have an answer.”